Each year the CMC gathers to recognise significant contributions to the mountains, especially the mountains of Canterbury. The CMC Mountaineer of the Year award is given annually, while the Mahi Aroha award is given when there is a worthy nomination of a club member.

All club members are encouraged to make a nomination for each award, which will be presented at the annual CMC Mid-Winter Dinner each year in June or July. The CMC committee will make the final decision on the winners.

The CMC Mountaineer of the Year award

The CMC Mountaineer of the Year award was established to recognise significant contributions to the development of mountaineering in New Zealand and overseas. It is also, of course, a good excuse to get together and hear a talk from the recipient(s), at the end of which they were traditionally awarded a large framed colour print and a handsome trophy to keep on their mantelpiece for a year.

While the idea of acknowledging someone as deserving special recognition does not usually sit well in the mountaineering world, Dave Fearnley (recipient in 1991) put things in perspective: “Being Mountaineer of the Year in New Zealand is a little bit like being Rugby Player of the Year in Bangladesh“.

The criteria for the award reflects the strong connection of the CMC to the Canterbury region:

  • The CMC Mountaineer of the Year is awarded to an individual or team for significant ascent(s).
  • The candidate(s) must have tangible link to Canterbury either through ascents in Canterbury, or as a Cantabrian climbing in wider New Zealand or overseas.
  • Judging is weighted towards climbs made in the preceding year, but may take into account other recent climbs.
  • The recipient does not need to be a member of the CMC.

The CMC Mahi Aroha award

The CMC Mahi Aroha award recognises significant contributions to the club outside of climbing. It is named Mahi Aroha, a term that most closely translates to the concept of voluntary work. Mahi Aroha is the unpaid activity performed out of sympathy and caring for others in accordance with the principles of tikanga to maintain mana and rangatiratanga, rather than for financial or personal reward.

This award is only open to club members and aims to recognise those whose efforts, often over a number of years, make the club a home to its members in and out of the hills. The significance of these contributions are such that it is not awarded annually, but as and when a suitable nomination has been received. The recipient is awarded a piece of our history a trophy made from the old Lyell hut until the next club member is recognised.

The recipient must be a member of the CMC.

Past recipients

Please honour the following club members who have made significant contributions to mountaineering in New Zealand and around the world:

2022Alastair McDowell, Hamish FlemingEnchainment of 24x 3000m peaks in 31 days
2021Ruari MacfarlaneVarious new routes & ascents including the first winter Torres-Tasman traverse from sea level
Rose Pearson The second ascent of Pilgrim and other first ascents in Canterbury and overseas in the previous 5 years.
2018Caleb JenningsThe first ascent of Pilgrim as the culmination of several previous attempts. Awarded posthumously.
2017Dave Shotwell, Allison Swintz, Nick Cradock, and Llewellyn MurdochThe second ascent of the route ‘Horn Please’ on Neverseen Tower, as well as 6 unclimbed ascents in the Miyar Valley in the Indian Himalaya.
2016Rose Pearson, Alastair McDowell, Steven Fortune, Richard MeasuresThe first ascent of the West ridge of Taulliraju.
2014Guy McKinnonThe first winter ascent of the West Face of Mount Tutuko (solo), a winter ascent of the Popes Nose (solo), and an ascent of all 3000m peaks in NZ (solo).
2012Jamie Vinton-Boot
2010Graham Zimmerman
2009Paul Knott
2007Paul Rogers
2006Jonathan Clearwater
2005Jo Kippax, Sean Waters
2004Eric Saggers
2003Dave Vass
2002Karen McNeill
2001Colin Monteath
2000Dave Crofts, Bryan Moore
1999Pat Deavoll
1998Phil Suisted, Kynan Bazley
1997Guy Cotter
1996Phil Penny, Al Uren
1995John Entwistle
1994Athol Whimp
1993Gottlieb Braun-Elwert
1992Matt Evrard
1991Dave Fearnly
1990Erica Beuzenberg
1989Gary Ball
1988Nick Craddock
1987Rob Hall
Past recipients of the CMC Mountaineer of the Year Award
2022Ian GardinerFor contributions to mountain hut radios
2021Robin MuirsonFor significant contribution to the clubs huts and lodges
Past recipients of the CMC Mahi Aroha Award